Verka Serduchka is a Ukrainian comedian and pop and dance singer.
Let’s find out some fun facts about her!
1. Andriy Mykhailovych Danylko was born 2 October 1973.
2. He was born to a working-class family in Poltava.
3. In 1980, at seven, he lost his father to lung cancer.
4. An avid amateur performer since childhood, he graduated from the Kiev State College of Circus and Variety Arts.
5. Ιn 1990, Andriy Danylko began to create the character of Verka Serduchka, a flamboyant middle-aged woman from a rural family, working as a railroad sleeping car attendant. Danylko presented Serduchka publicly for the first time in a Poltava comedy competition on January 4, 1991.
6. He invented the character’s name by combining the randomly picked first name Verka and the last name of a former school classmate, Anya Serduk.
7. Danylko later gave his Serduchka character a “mother,” played by actress Inna Bilokon, who had been Danylko’s close friend since school.
8. After Verka Serduchka, Danylko created other characters, such as a police officer, a soldier and a female ballet dancer.
9. He established the troupe “Danylko Theater” to tour the cities of Russia and Ukraine.
10. In 2002, Danylko, along with his group, toured in the CIS and Baltic countries with the program “I am a Revolution” for the whole year.
11. The following year he was awarded the title of Honored Artist of Ukraine soon after the Danylko Theater concert tour “I Was Born for Love”.
12. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Danylko hosted a talk show called “SV-show” (“SV” is an abbreviation for Ukrainian: Спальний Вагон, “Spalnyy Vagon”, which means sleeping car) on various Ukrainian television channels.
13. In 2001, Danylko made his first appearance in one of several musicals produced for television, mostly in female comic portrayals based on the Serduchka character. Several of these productions were shown in the New Year’s Eve broadcasts of Russia-1 television.
14. Apart from pop and dance performances as Serduchka, Danylko has also performed ambient musical compositions under his real name, including the 2005 album После тебя.
15. Verka Serduchka was chosen to represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 in Helsinki, Finland, with the song “Dancing Lasha Tumbai”.
16. One of Ukraine’s nationwide FM radio stations organized a protest action in February 2007 to express their disapproval of the selection. Some Ukrainians and even members of the Ukrainian Parliament also expressed their disapproval, viewing the character of Serduchka as “grotesque and vulgar”.
17. Serduchka’s song “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” was sung in four languages: German, English, Ukrainian, and Russian.
18. The invented words “lasha tumbai” caused some controversy after the performance, as many people noted the phrase’s similarity to “Russian goodbye”.
19. In early publicity appearances, Serduchka explained that “lasha tumbai” was a Mongolian expression for “whipped cream.” His statement was denied by several Mongols who gave the correct phrase on a talk show broadcast by Channel One (Russia) just before the Eurovision Song Contest 2007.
20. The Mongolian embassy in Moscow also said that “lasha tumbai” was total gibberish.
21. The “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” single reached #6 in the French charts and went on to be #28 on The Official UK Singles Chart on 20 May 2007. This was the first time a non-UK non-winning Eurovision entry had made UK charts since 1974.
22. In 2011, a writer from British newspaper The Guardian described “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” as the “best song never to win Eurovision” before going on to describe Serduchka as “an oven-ready Christopher Biggins”.
23. Danylko announced in 2007 that he would front a new political party, “For Ours!”, to run in that year’s Ukrainian parliamentary election, but he later abandoned the idea.
24. A public opinion poll in July 2007 placed ‘For Ours! Verka Serduchka’ at 2% overall support.
25. Serduchka had planned to participate in the Ukrainian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011. He automatically qualified for the final, but withdrew his nomination in October 2010.
26. Danylko appeared as the character Verka Serduchka in a cameo role in the 2015 American action comedy movie Spy, which premiered May 22, 2015 in New York City and June 4, 2015 in Ukraine.
27. In the 2016 telecast of the Eurovision Song Contest, Serduchka announced the results from the Ukrainian jury. Bilokon, portraying Serduchka’s mother, accompanied Danylko.
28. In the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest hosted in Ukraine, a series of short video clips, titled “Verkavision”, were produced that chronicled the fictional back story of the character of Verka Serduchka and her journey as a Eurovision “star”.